December is coming to a close.  As we reflect on the year that has passed,
and think of the year to come, thoughts of a new year create excitement for
many of us! January  is an ideal time for change, an opportunity for new

The new year can also be a good time for each of us to reflect upon what we
have accomplished in 2012, and perhaps what we should have done
differently… if only life had a rewind button!  Our thoughts turn to the
future, and to what we would like to accomplish in 2013.  We are busy
thinking about careers, relationships, goals, projects and such.  For most
of us, it’s easy to come up with a resolution or two, but I think most
people would agree that it’s not so easy to be successful over the course of
an entire year when it comes to New Year’s resolutions!

One popular goal setting technique many people are familiar with is the
S.M.A.R.T. goals system.  S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE,
ATTAINABLE, REALISTIC, AND TIME-BOUND.  I encourage you to explore how the
S.M.A.R.T.  goals system can help you be successful in working with your New
Year’s resolutions!

As you think about your goal, keep in mind that your goal should follow the
S.M.A.R.T. outline.  Goals should be SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE,


The first term stresses the need for a specific goal. A goal that is clearly
defined is much easier to achieve than a general goal.

To work with specific goals, use the following five “W” questions:

*             What: What do I want to accomplish?

*             Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing
the goal.

*             Who: Who is involved?

*             Where: Identify a location.

*             Which: Identify requirements and constraints.


The second term stresses the need to be able to measure your progress as you
work toward your goal.  This is how you’ll be able to determine if you are
making progress and staying on track.

A measurable goal will usually answer these kinds of questions:

*             How much?

*             How many?

*             How will I know when it is accomplished?


The third term stresses the importance of having goals that you will be able
to achieve because the goals are within reach.

An attainable goal will usually answer the question:

*             How: How can the goal be accomplished?


The fourth term stresses the importance of choosing goals that matter.
Choose something worth working toward!  You must be willing and able to work
toward the goal.  A tough goal, versus an easy goal, is one that will
motivate you, and once you reach the goal, you will experience a true
feeling of accomplishment.

A realistic goal can answer yes to these questions:

*             Does this seem worthwhile?

*             Is this the right time?

*             Do I believe I can accomplish this?

*             Have I accomplished something similar in the past?


The fifth term stresses the importance of giving goals a target date.  A
commitment to a deadline helps you focus your efforts on completion of the
goal on or before the due date. A time-bound goal is intended to establish a
sense of urgency.

A time-bound goal will usually answer the question:

*             When?

*             What can I do 6 months from now?

*             What can I do 6 weeks from now?

*             What can I do today?


Now that you have some helpful tips on achieving your goal(s), make some
time for yourself to think about what you would like to work on.  Have some
fun with this technique and move forward with confidence, knowing that you
CAN accomplish your goal, whatever it may be!